Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Liza Minnelli Stepping Out! 2015

Monday, September 8, 2008

The magic of Minnelli ~ Liza with a Z brings her tribute to her godmother to the Kentucky Center

By Tamara Ikenberg • • September 8, 2008
From Sally Bowles in "Cabaret" to Lucille 2 on "Arrested Development," Liza Minnelli's characters and extraordinary talent have carried her through 50 years in show business.
She's bringing her unmatchable magic to the Kentucky Center Tuesday. In the first act, Minnelli will sing such favorites as "Maybe This Time" and "The Man I Love." The second act, choreographed by Ron Lewis, is a dance-filled tribute to the groundbreaking late-1940s nightclub act of Minnelli's godmother, Kay Thompson.
The living legend spoke about Thompson, "Arrested Development" and how she gets through life's highs and lows.
Q. It's so surreal talking to you
A. Don't be silly!
Kay Thompson wrote the "Eloise" books, about the little girl who lives in the Plaza Hotel, and it's been said that you are the inspiration for Eloise. Is it true?
Maybe a little, but not really. Kay is and was extraordinary. She was a huge radio star, a singer, and she invented harmonies nobody had used before with singers. Then she starred in "Funny Face." … She sang "Clap Your Hands," and that was great. But what I'm going to celebrate is her nightclub act. It was a huge hit, and it changed the way nightclub acts were done. She did it with four guys, the Williams brothers, one of which was Andy.
So, are you officially signed on for the "Arrested Development" movie?
I don't know. I just got home from Europe.
The Internet Movie Database says it's rumored that you're in it.
Oh, well, thanks for telling20me.
How did you come to be Lucille Austero, aka Lucille 2, on "Arrested Development"?
My friend Ron (Howard) called me, and he said, "Listen, I'm doing this wacky show. Do you want to do it?" And I said, "Yeah, sure." He knows I'm funny. I haven't done much out-and-out comedy, but evidently people do think I'm a funny person. Then I got together with the producers and the writers and we invented Lucille 2.
Which of Lucille 2's quirks amuse you the most?
I think it's funny that Lucille 2 has a balance problem if she gets nervous. The first day that I filmed, Lucille 2 had to fall down. (When it was time for the fall,) they said "OK, hold it!" and a stand-in came in. I said, "Wait a minute, guys, you can't do this to me! I spent two weeks with my dance teacher, Luigi, learning how to fall down so I wouldn't hurt myself!"
Did they let you do it?
Oh, sure.
What are you watching on the tube these days?
I love the dance shows. I vote. I call.
Who has been your fave "Dancing With The Stars" contestant so far?
(Even if I had one,) I wouldn't tell you if I did. You know that. I'm not that kind of person.
You voted, didn't you?
Yes, but that's my privilege (to keep it private). I think they're all amazing. The strides forward that the people who weren't dancers made, it's extraordinary. I love the idea that it's brought dance back to America, because I'm a dancer first. That's my first love. People go out dancing now. People dance at their weddings now. They have routines. It's wonderful. I'm thrilled about that.
Who would you pick to play you in a Liza biopic?
Say you couldn't do it for some reason. Then who?
Agnes Moorehead? I don't know. I don't think about stuff like that. I'm a Gypsy, which is a name for a chorus kid on Broadway.=2 0They go from show to show, so they're traveling. They're Gypsies. I've been a Gypsy my whole life; I love it.
Speaking of Broadway, "Cabaret," the show and the film are still as fresh and dangerous as ever. What accounts for its staying power?
Bob Fosse directed it. He made a good movie. He caught the era. It was sensual and weird.
How would you compare Joel Grey's M.C. in the film to Alan Cumming's M.C. in the Broadway revival?
I wouldn't do that. They are so completely different. Joel Grey is one of the most talented men in the world, and he invented something spectacular. And then Alan Cumming took it and did it his way. So it wasn't a copy. They were both very original.
They both seem like they were born for the role.
When you see somebody who's good in something, you think they are that person, and that's the job of the actor. That's what we try and do. After I made "The Sterile Cuckoo," everybody said, "Are you all right?" And after I made "Cabaret," everybody said, "Hi, Toots!"
Are you aware of the perils of Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears and other troubled young divas?
I'd rather (not talk about that), if it's all right with you. I can answer questions about myself, as opposed to gossiping. I feel uncomfortable. Is that OK, honey?
You have been through so much upheaval in your life. What's your survival secret?
Curiousity. Just looking around and seeing what else is happening.
Reporter: Tamara Ikenberg

An Evening
With Liza MinnelliWhen: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Where: Whitney Hall at the Kentucky Center, 501 W. Main St.Tickets: $45-$90. Purchase at or call (502) 584-7777

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